Return to Transcripts main page


Coverage of the Second Republican Presidential Candidate Debate; Trump Polling Well Among Evangelicals; Body Language Important for Every Candidate. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired September 15, 2015 - 23:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Late night round two hours away. Our earlier debate begins tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. eastern. The main event 8:00 p.m. Both live from the Reagan library in Simi valley, California.

That's it for us tonight. I'll see you back here Thursday night, the night after the debate. We'll do some analysis, post-analysis.

AC 360 starts right now.

[23:00:24] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening from the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Southern California. Tomorrow night the CNN Republican debates, 15 candidates in all, four in the early debate, 11 in prime time. Two Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson far ahead in the polls. One ahead from speaking. Not far from here on the Los Angeles waterfront. Donald Trump has in fact just stepped aboard the decommissioned battleship USS Iowa. He is being introduced right now. He is expected to talk somewhat about national security whoever views on border issues to join protesters at the event tonight.

Sara Sidner is with them. She joins us right now.

Sara, what's the scene outside?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you, there is about 200-250 people, and they are walking through the crowd a little bit, lots of different signs, Anderson. And just behind me, I'm going to have -- Mike, just flip to let you see. That is the USS Iowa there. And on the back of the USS Iowa, Trump is speaking. About a thousand people expected to attend the Trump event. But down here, these aren't folks who have tickets, as you might imagine. These are folks who are here, who are angry with Trump. And they have all sorts of signs, some of them very provocative like this one here says I'm mad on Donald Trump.

And you got other ones where you have lots of children here saying we're not illegals. There was a fight earlier between Trump supporters and folks who want Trump out, speaking don't Trump at him. Certainly, they're a very, very vocal crowd here tonight trying to get Trump to hear their message while he tries to give his message to the crowd that's here to see him -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Sara Sidner, appreciate that. Vice president Biden took a veiled shot at Donald Trump a short time

ago tonight before a group of Latino leaders, not naming Trump by name but condemning his words, quote "a guy denigrating an entire group of people." Will Donald Trump react? We'll see that shortly.

First, though, a preview of the debate and the top 11 panelists. Joining us tight now is CNN senior commentator and former top Obama adviser David Axelrod, also chief national correspondent John King and CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

I want to run through the 11 candidates who are going on that stage during the main debate. Let's take a look at Donald Trump the front- runner right now polling at 32 percent, also the oldest candidate on the debate stage. He got the most air time last debate.

David Axelrod, should he be doing anything differently this time?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: You know, I think that the campaign is advancing. And if he's serious about being a presidential candidate, he can't tamper with what got him there. But he has to show moments of sobriety and substance to signal that, you know, maybe he could actually do the job which is a problem for him. A lot of people don't think that at this point.

COOPER: Let's put up Dr. Ben Carson in the poll, second placed in the polls. He was pretty mild mannered. In the last debate, he joked about how he didn't get enough air time to talk.

John King, is that something he needs to do more tomorrow?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can make the case that Ben Carson has said even less about policy prescriptions of big issues than Donald Trump has. And yet, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are going up in the polls. So, should he change it? I think he will be pressed to change it. Although Trump will be much more the center of the attention. It will be interesting to see how the Carson dynamic works out. The other candidates are more worried about Trump because there is ability to spend his own money than they are about Ben Carson who they don't think will put the organization together.

But since you are using baseball cards, Trump and Carson never played a ball. Most presidential candidates from the state legislature. Never played AA ball being the governor or being in the Congress. And yet, here they are in the major leaks. So there is something in the water this year.

AXELROD: And it's early in the season.

COOPER: There is no doubt about. That to the left, though, of Donald Trump, it is going to be Jeb Bush, a distant third right now. He certainly has a lot of money in the bank. He he's a lot of money behind him. But is he, Nia, the candidate who really needs to try to do something tomorrow to kind of break the Trump's criticism of low energy?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And sort of put the skids on what we seen as a slide. And it showed up his inability to raise the kind of money they wanted to just hop on (ph). Look. I think he needs to, a, physical out a way to land a punch against Donald Trump. He's been doing that online and sort of on the stump which is always easier to do.

COOPER: His argument is Donald Trump is not a true conservative.

HENDERSON: He is not a true conservative. But he also, I think, needs to do without seeming like Ned Flanders, without seeming to sort of like a nerdy guy. And then I think he is embracing being the nerd that I think one model for him. If you look at what Rick Schneider, the whole idea of being of one tough nerd, Rick Schneider, of course, the governor of Michigan. That might be a model for him.

But I think he just fell to the wayside in that first debate. Didn't break through at all. He has to figure out a way to do it. But not loosen his brand as a moderate.

AXELROD: Here's a danger for Bush, in the year in which -- and I think this is true in every presidential election, authenticity is the watch word. What he can't do is distort himself and try and be what he's not.

[23:05:08] COOPER: You say (INAUDIBLE)

AXELROD: Yes, exactly. Make that Flanders popular.


COOPER: We will move.

Ted Cruz, he's got the second largest amount of super PAC donations after Bush over $37 million. He is only polling, though, at seven percent.

David, what dunk he needs to do?

AXELROD: Well, you know what, he's chosen a different path. He is hanging around. And he is trying to - he wants to be the alternative to Trump if Trump blows up. But he's got another concern I think. He wants to do well in Iowa. Carson is doing very well with social conservatives there which is a bog target for Cruz. I wouldn't be surprise if in some ways he challenge Carson in that debate tomorrow night.

COOPER: Interesting. John, let's go Mike Huckabee. He has been the most aggressive candidate according certainly with evangelical Christian voters. He has only got five percent right now. He was in the news a lot with Davis in Kentucky who had refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. What do you see him tomorrow?

KING: Well, that appearance in Kentucky was clear play for evangelicals who are losing in the courts, who are losing these fights. And Mike Huckabee says you have Supreme Court isn't the final word. Well, the Supreme Court is the final word. The constitution kind says that. But that's Mike Huckabee's play. And today -- AXELROD: Maybe them in the Iowa caucus.

KING: And maybe that in the Iowa caucus, to David's play. Trump is leading among evangelicals. Ben Carson is, of course, second in Iowa. If you are Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, they are the threat to your candidacy. Mike Huckabee much more so because unlike Ted Cruz, he doesn't have tens of millions of dollars in the bank. He is in a lot of trouble. We are looking in a race Rick Perry just dropped out. You are looking at Christie, you are looking at Huckabee, you are looking at Rand Paul, that's people who have may, in a few weeks, have to think about heading for the exits.

COOPER: Nia, I mean, Scott Walker came into this race with so much attention. A lot of people talked about him as somebody who would be out in front. You look at his poll number. He's under performed in just about all counts. He's at five percent in the polls.

HENDERSON: Yes, that's right. And he under performed in that last debate. I think his whole idea of himself is that he is aggressively normal. But that doesn't really work particularly in this field. But I'm sure it just works in politics more generally. He has got to get pass those talking points. We can all recites them. He has won three times in the last four years. He's taken on the union. People want more than that. And people want a sense he has charisma. He is thinking that sort if you are boring that kind of equals charisma, but it doesn't really.

AXELROD: And you know, he was the flavor of the month in May and June because he was going to be the guy who could bridge the gap between center right Republicans and social conservatives and tea party Republicans and he made a decision to dive way right to try and win the Iowa caucuses. And so now he's faced with the situation where people don't really know who he is. And that's a bad place to be.


COOPER: Carly Fiorina, she is the only one to graduate from the, I guess happy hour debate the last time around.

AXELROD: And we saw a dead man walking.

COOPER: To this debate. She came under fire from Donald Trump famously in that "Rolling Stone" article just last week where he was commenting about her face. He claims he was commenting about her persona. That doesn't actually make any sense whatsoever. What does she needs to do? Does she go after him? Does she just need to kind of sell herself to the American public?

AXELROD: Well, I think she has the greatest opportunity tomorrow night, you know, just as she did in that first debate. She will be the only woman on the stage. She presents herself with great clarity. And she has shown a pen chant for taking Trump on and actually winning, which is unusual in this group. So I look for her to be a winner tomorrow night in that debate.

COOPER: John, I mean, last time around, Rand Paul went after Donald Trump hard, perhaps harder than anybody else and right off the get go. It didn't seem to do anything for him in the polls. He continues to on the campaign trail. He has talked already today about going after Donald Trump with both boards this time around even harder. What do you think he needs?

KING: And he had the biggest exchange with Governor Christie over national security surveillance policies. Rand Paul taking the more libertarian, get the government out of this business, release backing Donald back. Christie is saying no way, we need this.

In a debate where we expect a lot of national security foreign policy issues, Rand Paul wants to be very different. But all guy who thought they were going to be different in this race, Anderson, have been trumped by Trump.

COOPER: Let's listen into Trump.

TRUMP: So I got here. And they asked a couple of days ago, would it be possible to come over and say a few words. At endorsement from your group with so many veterans, hundreds of thousands of veterans, I really appreciate that, Joel. I did not expect it. I didn't expect it. I didn't ask for it.

I will say this, I am with the veterans 100 percent. They're our greatest people. They're being treated terribly. The -- not only the number of deaths, that's tantamount, what's going on is incredible, but as of two weeks ago on Wednesday, the vets had the longest wait in the history of the veterans administration. You go in to see a doctor, you wait for days, for days, and it's not going to happen. Not going to happen. If I win, believe me, it's not going to happen.

And one of the things I thought I'd do and I stress so strongly the veterans hospitals, obviously, they have problems, they're not properly run. And when you have to wait long hours and long days and then in some cases have the doctor say, I'm sorry, I'm going on vacation, believe me, it doesn't get much worse than that. So we're going to create a whole new system. We're going to take this system apart and if they're not doing the job, the veterans are going to go to private doctors, private hospitals, public hospitals.


[23:10:51] TRUMP: And we're going to reimburse those doctors and those hospitals and you are going to get the greatest service of any veterans in any country because you deserve it. And that's going to be --


TRUMP: That's going to be broken down into something that's going to be very special. Right now, and you know it, we have illegal immigrants that are treated better, by far, than our veterans. That's not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen.

So, Joel, I just really present it. So unexpected to be here as an honor. They don't build ships like this anymore, folks, you know, we don't do them this way anymore. I actually said what about re- commissioning -- this look at this. This largest guns in the world. The most powerful guns. I learned a lot about Iowa. By the way, Iowa is a great place for a lot of reasons, you know, we have been treated so well in the state of Iowa, it's been incredible. Number one on the polls and we love those people. They're great. So this is a great ship. OK, you guys, this is a great ship. That's a great state.

I just want to say that we're going to come out with some plans in a very short time. We're going to be building up our military. We are going to make our military so big and so strong and so great and it will be so powerful that I don't think we're ever going to have to use it. Nobody is going to mess with us. That I can tell you.


TRUMP: And we're going to have a president who is respected by Putin, who is respected by Iran. You know, let's talk about for two seconds. Let's talk about the Iran deal. Now, Obama, Obama and his people call him the supreme leader of Iran. Obama talks about the supreme leader. Well, I'm not calling him a supreme leader, but he said the other day.

COOPER: We have been told there would be some specifics on foreign policy. I haven't heard them so far. Donald Trump aboard the USS Iowa. We are going to take a short break. We will listen more. And when we come back and update you on protests going on nearby.


[23:16:29] COOPER: Donald Trump speaking on board the USS Iowa. Now, we have been told to expect specifics on national security. So far, we haven't heard any. We are going to continue to monitor this. This is place right now kind of a standards stump speech. We will, if we do hear any specifics from Donald Trump. We will turn that around and bring those to you.

Mr. Trump has been getting plenty of applause in any case. He also hasn't gone into detail on his religious beliefs. And some of what he said has been well some have called irreverent. He says he is polling well with evangelical Christians. The question is will that actually translate into more support from voters?

More on that now from our Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven Iowa Republicans, all evangelical Christians is there.

When it comes to choosing a candidates, does your faith and your beliefs come first?


KAYE: Only one in our group is sure he's voting Trump.

FRANK MORAN, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: The relationship Mr. Trump has with God is between him and God. I am not the one here to judge.

KAYE: Others in the group don't agree. One of the biggest issues, Trump has never asked for forgiveness from God.

TRUMP: I think if I do something wrong, I think I try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't.

JANE JECH, RICK SANTORUM SUPPORTER: What it causes me to do is pray for him. Because he will never know the peace that he can have from forgiveness.

KAYE: Trump also raised eyebrows among the group when he said this.

TRUMP: When we go in church and when I drink my little wine which is the only wine I drink and have my little cracker, I guess, that's just form of asking for forgiveness. And I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed, OK.

KAYE: When you hair Donald Trump say I have a little wine in a church, I take a little cracker and I feel cleansed. Is that enough for you?

PASTOR KERRY JECH, MIKE HUCKABEE SUPPORTER: I believe that it represents in a symbolic fashion the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And consequently, it is a serious thing for me. And so, when somebody just makes it sound like, yes, I just do this, do that; that does bother me.

DEAN FISHER, SCOTT WALKER SUPPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) I wish he was 100 percent sincere like he really understood what communion was about and that concerns me.

KAYE: This group has heard Trump say that the bible is his favorite book. But when asked about his favorite scripture, he told reporters, it was too personal a question.

BOB MASON, BEN CARSON SUPPORTER: When you become a Christian, you want to tell others what happened to you. Before I have been saved, I didn't care about telling anybody about Jesus Christ.

KAYE: So you are saying --

MASON: But once I gave my heart to the Lord, man, everybody needs to know how to go to heaven and I wanted to tell everybody.

KAYE: On other important issues like immigration the group as a whole is happy to see Trump has the nerve to address it. They agree the southern border needs a wall. Meanwhile, on the issue of abortion rights.

The fact that at one point he supported abortion rights, and now he is pro-life, he says she pro-life.

K. JECH: For me either you are pro-life or you are not? That's where I'm at.

KAYE: If Trump turns out to be the nominee, would you all vote for him?

MARCIA RICKE, UNDECIDED VOTER: That is the one thing we have to do. We have got to rally. He may not be the perfect person and there isn't a perfect candidate out there that has everything, but we are going to have to rally around whoever becomes the nominee.


COOPER: Randi Kaye joins us now.

Randi, what else struck you about what the group had to say?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, we know that Trump is polling well among evangelicals, not only in Iowa, but nationwide. And what struck me was that other group was pretty mix. They weren't all there to support Donald Trump. We had one who is supporting Ben Carson, another was supporting Rick Santorum. Another who is supporting Mike Huckabee.

Of course, they said in the end they would vote for Donald Trump if he was the nominee as you heard them say, but he is not their top choice. I also asked them why they think Donald Trump is polling so well among evangelicals. And they told me it's the same reason, he is polling so well among everybody else. He is bold, he is brash, he doesn't back down. They like that. The only thing they are requesting from him right now is that he start reading the bible from cover-to-cover, Anderson.

[23:20:38] COOPER: Randi, thank you very much.

So with that on the table, let's get some perspective now from Russell Moore. He is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics Commission, also Trump supporter. Joining us CNN political commentator and former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord.

President Moore, thank you for being with us. Donald Trump has been increasingly talking about his faith in recent weeks. You say he's scamming evangelicals. How so?

RUSSELL MOORE, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ETHICS COMMISSION: Well, because you have someone who is trivializing what evangelicals believe. Look, I don't expect the president to necessarily be able to find to back up quickly in the bible. What I do expect the president to do is to understand the deepest convictions that millions of evangelicals have in this country without trivializing those things in the way that Donald Trump has.

I can't judge Donald Trump's heart. But I can listen to his words and I can see his actions. And we have a real character issue here with someone who speaks of women and denigrating terms and someone who boasts and brags about their own personal immorality. Someone who is made his living in the casino industry, wrecking people's lives, and then says he has nothing for which to ask God for forgiveness. That's troubling to me.

COOPER: Jeffrey, one, you think he is leading among evangelicals at this point?

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think as the report indicated, evangelicals are not one dimensional. They have more than one thing that they are interested in at a time. I noticed Tony Perkins from the family research council said more or less exactly that.

You know, I would take issue with the notion that he is scamming. I mean, you can like or not like Donald Trump. But there is no mistaking that he a genuine soul. He's a nice guy. He's a good person. He has given millions and millions and millions of dollars to charity. He's helped all kind of people that, you know, are not in the public eye. And I think that certainly would get him a good reference in the good book as it were.

COOPER: But if a candidate is saying, you know the bible is their favorite book next to the "art of the deal" which he also wrote and he goes to church also.

LORD: And also, he only wrote one.

COOPER: And that he, you know, goes to church regularly, and the church says, well, actually, he's not an active member of this church. And he doesn't -- when he talks about holy communion or the Eucharist, different religion describing it in different ways, you know, the language he is using doesn't really reflect the seriousness with which many people see it.

LORD: Well, I would say this. We are here at the Ronald Reagan library. Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California signed an abortion bill into law which he regretted later. Ronald Reagan was now an evangelical Christian. He was like Donald Trump, I believe, a Presbyterian. And yet, as he went along in his later presidential life and pre-presidential life, when he was running for president, he met up with Jerry Falwell, became very interested. And they became quite good friends. And he really did very well with the evangelical vote. And I think that kind of think can happen again. But I certainly don't think he is scamming anybody.

COOPER: President Moore, I mean, despite polling that has Trump leading among evangelicals, there is no, as far as I know, and correct me if I'm wrong, no evangelical leader or pastor that you have spoken to says they are supporting him. So how do you explain the disconnect if pastors and leaders aren't supporting don't follow him and yet the polls show (INAUDIBLE) and the numbers says this early on, evangelicals by large numbers seem to be picking him.

MOORE: Well look, evangelical Christians ought to be the last people to fall for hucksters and demagogues. We ought to the people to have our conscience so shaped by the scripture that we are able to recognize that sort of thing. But unfortunately, I mean, Donald Trump is using the kind of rhetoric he is using and winning over virtually every demographic of the American population right now.

And that's why I think we need to deal with the issue of character. We need to deal with the issue of using language to divide the American people the way he is. And really ugly and nasty ways often.

And with the question of Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan is not someone who just suddenly turned around and said he was pro-life with no explanation. Ronald Reagan never spoke of the many good things that Planned Parenthood does. Ronald Reagan wrote an entire book on the sanctity of human life. He spoke regularly to why he cared about the unborn and how he would protect the unborn. And if Donald Trump says that his sister would be a good candidate for the Supreme Court. This is someone who is a radical pro-abortion activist.

And so, this is - this is no Ronald Reagan. And even more than that, Ronald Reagan was able to communicate a character and a vision of America that included everyone. It was hopeful and moved us into the future. That's not what we are hearing from Donald Trump.

COOPER: Russell Moore, I appreciate you being on the program. Jeffrey Lord as well.

And Donald Trump has just finished talking, not offering specifics on national security that we have been led to expect. Perhaps no surprise. We will talk about that ahead and bring you a live update on the protesters nearby. We'll be right back.


[23:29:40] COOPER: Donald Trump has just left the battleship. He was expected to talk national security and for the first time talks some specifics. He did not. He did do ever draw plenty of protests. Remember, the Latino community, about 200 or so, we are told, are outside.

Let's quickly go to Sara Sidner who is among the crowds -- Sara.

SIDNER: Anderson, protestors have moved a bit near the USS Iowa, getting closer and closer as close as they can because these two black cars they believe that's where Trump is going to be getting in and leaving at some point.

We know that some folks paid about a thousand dollars or donated about a thousand dollar to the group that was putting on this event, Veterans for a Strong America. And you will see the protestors have been able to move quite close. And as Trump was speaking, they were booing, they were yelling out different messages to him, hoping that he could hear them because they say California is a state that has more immigrants than any other state in this country. And that this is a wonderful place to be and that no one should be told to leave the country and that no humans are illegal.

You can see some of their signs. They're pretty creative. And you got everyone from adults to children out here, Anderson. About 250 people have come out saying that they really don't want to have Trump as their president. They don't like the message and you have senators who came out talking about a bill that California has gone ahead and put forward a resolution to divest from all Trump property and any money that the public trust is putting into Trump's properties. And there is a lot of talk about that here in California. Both politicians and regular citizens out here protesting Trump -- Anderson.

[23:31:17] COOPER: All right. Sara Sidner, appreciate it.

Here at the Reagan library, we are back with John King and joining us is chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

So not some - we really did not get specifics and we kind of have been told perhaps he will which is why we didn't really play much of the speech. It was actually a shorter speech than a lot of his speeches that he has given.

At this point, though, for Donald Trump, you know, one of the thing he said which we heard plenty of times before, is him talking about veterans, and he has talked about it quite loudly on the campaign trail. Other candidate have raised issues about the VA as well. But none perhaps as loudly and as consistently as Donald Trump. But again, not a lot of specifics from him on what he would actually do.

KING: No, he said again that he will make the military strong and rebuild. He said again and he insisted, he says they're all skeptical. I will let Mexico pay for the wall when I build it. He says China will give in to him and Putin will give into him. And he says he will help veterans.

But again, when he says I will help you, this is part of his appeal. He says the others will never be able to do these things because they don't get deals like I do. It is a special instinct. I have it, they don't. It is working for him right now. Again, you know, it is my eight presidential campaign. You are ripping up scripturally. He just rip up the old playbook and throw it out. It does not apply to Donald Trump.

Voters or at least the voters who support him are so disgusted and so distrustful of the senators and the governors, that when he says these things, they want something different, and whether it's Donald Trump or Ben Carson, that's where we are going right now.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and we got a hint of what he is going to do tomorrow night, I think actually. Because he was talking about his opponent says now we heard it a million times, very nice people. They're all very nice people. But what he is saying is they're incompetent. They are all completely --

COOPER: The low energy. They can't make deals.

BORGER: Low energy, right. They don't know how to do anything.

KING: Hostage to the system.

BORGER: Right. Exactly, and as he says, he used to be a part of that system. Now he understands it. And he is outside of it. So I think that is what we are going to hear tomorrow night. And he said, also, people are disgusted with our politicians. And he represents that. You know, I represent you because I am disgusted with them.

COOPER: I mean, John, you covered a lot of campaigns. Both of you have covered a lot of campaigns. I mean, it is a long slog between now and even the first, you know, caucus in the battles in Iowa, in New Hampshire. When does the electorate start to demand greater details?

KING: Well, if you go back to this point four years ago, most Republicans thought Rick Perry would be their nominee. But Romney was lurking in second place. And this race had structure. This race, we have to give Trump credit and give him the structure. Early on, we all thought this was a wave. It was going to crash. He would implode.

COOPER: No one anticipated him getting this far.

KING: He is above 30 percent in the national poll. He is leading in Iowa. He is leading in New Hampshire. Nobody votes for four months. So there is a possibility that when we get, you know, six weeks out or a month out, maybe his numbers will go down, maybe. And that's what most of the other candidates are still depending on. They still believe that this is a reality TV show. That it's not a real campaign.

But in the meantime, several of them won't be there. Rick Perry has already gone. A few more will be gone by the time Iowa votes. The question is, how do you, if there is this wave out there, do you want to get in front of it or behind it? Do you take him on tomorrow night? With some candidates say they are poised to do? Or do you have to make the case? The challenge for the guys with titles.

COOPER: And then by the way, Donald Trump there leaving the battleship protestors.

KING: The challenge for the guys with titles is to break through with these people who don't trust them and say we need to win to govern. We are not just winning to get the building. Once you win, you have to govern. I know you are frustrated. But please, listen to me. That's hard to do in this environment. And Trump is adding fuel to the fire by saying disgust, disgust, disgust.

BORGER: You know, a couple things to consider. First of all, when you look at all of this polling, over 60 percent of the people who are being polled are saying I haven't decided yet. So this is and the firm Trump supporters are firm Trump supporters. Make no mistake about that. But most of the voters right now are undecided.

Talking to the other campaigns, John is 100 percent right. I talked to somebody in the Bush campaign, the Walker campaign. They were saying, you know, New Hampshire voters are late deciders. They are notoriously late deciders.

So that we see are two races going on right now, the outsider race, Carson-Trump, and we will see that on the stage tomorrow night versus everybody who wants to be the alternative to those outsiders when they finally go away as they hope, as the establishment candidates hope.

And so, they're all running in different lanes, right now. They're not, you know, they're running to be the alternative to Trump or Carson.

[23:35:47] KING: But when you get a chance to make your move, your car has to have tires on it.

BORGER: Exactly.

KING: I mean, the question is what shape will these guys going to be? And Jeb Bush the Republican Party's $100 million man. His super PAC sponsored $24 million ad campaign trying to keep him off life support, but went on to a single digit in the poll.

COOPER: I mean, the fact that they are going to be spending $24 million this early in some of these states, they must be scared.

BORGER: Why not, you know, this is a crucial moment for Jeb Bush's campaign. Tomorrow night is really crucial for him. He has to show passion, energy, seriousness, contrast, right, with Donald Trump. And what they're doing is they're launching this ad campaign. So while he does that on the stage, they can buttress it on the airways. Look at the conservative record of Jeb Bush in the state of Florida. Just because you hear Bush, don't think of Bush 41. He's a moderate. Let us tell you his story and let us also at the same time tell you, which they're also doing, that Donald Trump is an imposter. That he's not a conservative.

COOPER: Right. Rand Paul is going to be, I think, running a commercial during the debate.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Tomorrow again trying to label Donald Trump as not a real conservative, which is the message Jeb Bush has been trying to push as well.

KING: And the conservative group, the Club for Growth, just launch ads in Iowa making the same message. Again, we are at this moment we are about to find out. This is the most conventional campaign that any of us can remember, Trump and Carson.

The only weapons people are to playing against him right now are conventional weapons of politics. Paid advertising or attacking him in debate or attacking him at the political rallies, will it work? That's the question. Will it work?

And one more quick point, Donald Trump is above 30 percent. If he can stay close to that number as we move on, he's in a golden position. Twenty five percent of Republican voters roughly now say they will not vote for Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush has to move that number.

BORGER: It's hard.

KING: He has to move that number.

COOPER: And yet, Donald Trump, I mean, they can run commercials and spend a lot of money. Donald Trump can tweet and get as much coverage perhaps as some of these commercials. BORGER: Right. That's the - you know, that is the unconventional

part of Donald Trump. He can also by the way phone in. You know, he can phone in. And we put him on the air. And Donald Trump talks to us. And you know, the other candidates quite frankly are complaining about it to us, right?

COOPER: Gloria Borger, John King, thank you very much.

Donald Trump leaving his campaign event.

As important his words will be tomorrow night here at the Reagan library on that debate stage. Body language could trump everything. Next, an expert shows where some of the candidates can improve based on the last debate.


[23:42:24] COOPER: Hey, good evening. We are live tonight from the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California. Tomorrow's Republican presidential debates hosted by CNN now less than 21 hours away. Research suggests that body language could be crucial.

Nick Morgan is founder of Public Words Incorporated. He gave Gary Tuchman his take on where some of the candidates stand and where they have room for improvement.



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The man who was the front-runner in the beginning of all this, Jeb Bush, who now no longer is. Let's take a look at one of his moments since first debate.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a record in Florida. I am proud of my dad and I am certainly proud my brother. In Florida, they called me Jeb because I earned it.

TUCHMAN: So you are saying he gave up authority with his body language. How did he give up authority?

NICK MORGAN, CEO, PUBLIC WORDS INCORPORATED: He gave up authority by tipping his head slightly to one side and then the other. When we hold up our head straight, we say we are in charge, we are confident.

TUCHMAN: What does he have to do differently this time around compared to the first debate?

MORGAN: Governor Bush needs to show up with more confidence and more authority. He needs to be a stronger personality. And to do that, he needs literally to take up more space, aside from not tipping his head to one side of the other. He also needs to crowd his podium. He needs to lean into it.

TUCHMAN: OK. Here's a moment between Governor Bush and Donald Trump. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You say the Mexican government, the

Mexican government is sending criminals, rapists, drug dealers, across the border. Governor Bush has called those remarks quote "extraordinarily ugly." I'd like you, you are right next to him, tell us, talk to him directly and say how you respond to that.

TUCHMAN: You see a lot here. You see the way he's looking at Trump and you see what Trump is doing with his arms. What does it all tell us?

MORGAN: It's a wonderful little play here. What you see is Trump completely ignoring Bush. But Bush again is deferring. He turns to Trump and he says, all right, answer the question, but he takes a step back as he does so, which shows he is giving the stage to Trump.

TUCHMAN: This is a short clip. A very interesting moment with Ben Carson, who is number two in most of the polls.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: As president, would you bring back waterboarding?

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you, Megyn. I wasn't sure I was going to get to talk again.

KELLY: We have a lot for you. Don't worry.

MORGAN: What's fascinating to me is that he was complaining that he wasn't getting a lot of air time. And yet when he does get air time, when the camera is on him, he's not connecting with the audience. Look at that. His eyes are shut. He's looking down. It's as if he's having a conversation with himself. I think he needs to connect with the television audience much more strongly. He needs to look them in the eye. He needs to make his gestures to show more confidence and more authoritative.

TUCHMAN: To use sports terms, Carly Fiorina is moving' up to the division one debate Wednesday, the division two debate. The first earlier debate the first time. Let's listen to her.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only someone who will challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. can lead the resurgence of this great nation. I will do that.

MORGAN: She is I think a force to be reckoned with because she is saying some very tough things. And she is coming across as quite strong in her language. And yet she is softening it with a lot of affirmative nods and the tipping of the head and smiling and that warms her up. And so you accept what she is saying because the body language says you can trust me, I'm your friend, I'm a nice person.

TUCHMAN: You are telling me of all the candidates if you had to pick one to watch the closest to this debate, this would be the person to watch, Carly Fiorina. Tell me why?

MORGAN: Because she has by far the most difficult job. She is the only woman in a sea of men. So that puts the spotlight on her. But it also increases the scrutiny. And she also has to stands up to Donald Trump who we seen sucked up all the air out the room in the first debate is and is likely to do so in the second?


COOPER: Well, different candidates, of course, have different ways of prepping for debate. What works for one may not be effective for another candidate. Donald Trump likes to say he doesn't prepare at all for the debates.

Let's talk about this with Brett O'Donnell, president of O'Donnell and associates who is working with Lindsey Graham's campaign and has been helping Senator Graham prepare for tomorrow night's debate. You have also worked with John McCain go against then senator Barack Obama. You have also worked with George Bush going against John Kerry. How do you prepare a candidate to go against Donald Trump?

BRETT O'DONNELL, LINDSEY GRAHAM'S DEBATE COACH: Well, I think you don't want to think about just Donald Trump. I think that is a mistake. If you teach your candidate to just focus on him, I think you are making a big mistake. I think the biggest thing you need to do is teach your candidate to get message and drive message out. Their message to the public, you know. If you are just debating Donald Trump, you are taking his bait, really. And so, what you have to do is be prepared to drive your message and then effectively counterpunch Donald Trump should he attack you.

COOPER: But not try - because Rand Paul was very aggressive in the last debate going after Donald Trump, just kind of out of the blue.

O'DONNELL: I think that's a mistake because you are playing RIGHT into Donald Trump's hand. I mean, he has made a living. He even says I'm an effective count puncher and he has been pretty effective.

COOPER: Right.

O'DONNELL: And so, if you go after Donald Trump first, I think you are playing into his hands. The best way is to drive your message. And really, the two people who are loving life in this primary right now are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because when the candidates are fighting amongst each other, they're not going against them. That's correct.

COOPER: In terms of body language is that something, a, you put a lot of stock into and, is it something you counsel clients on?

O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

COOPER: Really?

O'DONNELL: I mean, there is so much -- audiences say that they get as much as 65 percent of meaning from how someone says something not just what they say. And so if you think back in 2004, George W. Bush, who I coached in the very first debate, had great substance. But he had a lot of problems with body language, lying on the podium, seeing. Those sorts of things. You think back to the 2000 debates, Al Gore, same. Thing. Seeing (ph).

COOPER: Looked at his watch.

O'DONNELL: And that was George H. W. Bush looking at his watch during the presidential debate. So body language, you may not intend to communicate something. But you might unintentionally. And so, we have to pay attention to how you say what you say, not just what you say.

COOPER: Dr. Ben Carson really seems to defy a lot of the conventional wisdom about how you present yourself. He is very soft spoken. And yet it comes off perhaps as authentic. People seem to like him.

O'DONNELL: Yes. I mean, I think he is communicating an era of humility. You know, the way he communicates. So people know he's smart. He's a neurosurgeon. And so, I think the way he communicates, the style that he uses says I'm a humble man, but I want to be your representative. And I think a lot of people are taken to that. I'm very interested to see how Donald Trump confronts now that person tomorrow night.

COOPER: I have been watching your body language. I am taking notes, some free advice here.

Brett O'Donnell, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Just ahead tonight with a wink and a nod in tomorrow night's debate. We are taking a look at some of the most memorable moments from debates passed. We'll be right back.


[23:53:20] COOPER: Less than 24 hours now from the CNN republican presidential debates here in the Ronald Reagan library. If we have learned anything from the past, it will be some light and hard moments, maybe slip up or two, perhaps one of the candidates will say something that will make it into the history books. Let's take a quick look at some of the highlights and low lights from past debates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no soviet domination of Eastern Europe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hands now if you won't make that pledge tonight. Mr. Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The third agency of

government, I who you would do away with the education, the commerce, and let's see I can't. The third one I can't. Sorry. Oops.

COOPER: That's what our next question is about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Democratic candidates, as president, what will you do to ensure my son will live a full and happy life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not what's your philosophy and what's your position on issues? But can you get things done? And I believe I can.

[23:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who am I? Why am I here?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum. Now my friends, I wasn't there. I was tied up at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is true now.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rick, I tell you what, $10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will ask me -- I am paying for this microphone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's for the government.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are likable enough, Hillary.

CLINTON: Thank you so much.


COOPER: Something about the most memorable moments. We'll be right back.


[00:00:01] COOPER: Hey, that does it for us. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues now from CNN in Atlanta.